Ashlee?s art an eye-opener

VISUAL art is all about the eyes, but Ashlee Corfe is making making art for those who cannot see.

The Coffs Harbour Senior College student has chosen an unusual and ambitious project for her Higher School Certificate project ? tactile art.

Ashlee is combining touch, sound and bright contrasting colours in a suite of works to provide maximum appeal for those who can see, those who have limited vision and those who cannot see at all.

Her first tactile art work, completed last year, combined rocks, shells, glass cut-out 'waves' and different colours and grades of sandpaper to create a beach scene.

The works now on her drawing board include glass heads set on wooden shoulders, trees modelled from bamboo and sticks, bas-relief masks modelled with different expressions and even a rainforest with dripping water.

"All my art works are based on everyday kind of things we take for granted but they can't see," Ashlee said.

She said her interest in tactile art began when her sister 'started to have a really bad eye' and continued when she and her mother sat down to discuss how blind people experienced art, which Ashlee followed up with research.

Ashlee has gained the support of Coffs Harbour's Bunker Cartoon Gallery and its director, Dr Leigh Summers, for an exhibition in June and approached Vision Australia with her project.

"I wanted to do an art exhibition about tactile art and raise money.

"All the labels on the art will be in braille as well as written and Vision Australia is bringing some tactile art works from Sydney as well."

Ashlee said as well as a charity opening night for the exhibition to benefit Vision Australia, all her work will be for sale, with all proceeds going to Vision Australia.

Her work will be exhibited at the Bunker Cartoon Gallery from June 16-30 and gallery director Dr Leigh Summers has agreed to lower the hanging level of the works so they can be reached and touched by young children and vision-impaired people in wheelchairs.

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